After a Few Pondering Hours
After I wrote and posted yesterdays blog, I spent some time wondering if maybe I had missed the mark. I read the article again and I still think I am spot on.
A friend of mine posted a different article taking about reasons certain Oscar night jokes were minimizing women, dehumanizing them, and after reading it, I spent a good deal of time rethinking my argument.
Was I missing the point?
I am usually quick to call BS on racism, sexism, homophobia, when I think it is hateful or misguided, not tolerating it in my home and personal interactions. I firmly believe women are still subject to a different set of rules than men, and fight to remedy that. Things are getting better, but there is still much to do.
Having spent a great deal of time as an undergraduate, studying feminist theory, agreeing with it, I understood exactly where this author was positioning herself. While this particular piece was leaps and bounds better (and more focused) than the New Yorker, with arguments centered on why the jokes were harmful, not just complaining they weren’t funny, I feel it suffers from wanting to be an indictment of Hollywood itself (which would be a much more interesting piece), rather than why MacFarlane ‘s misogyny is so egregious.
We get stats on how many more men than women won awards, of how few non-performance awards are given to women, percentages of academy voters who are male. All interesting and valid, all of which deserve notice and are very telling about the culture of Hollywood, yet none of this has anything to do with the host, or what he said.
In fact, we hear instead how the humor, though offensive, was actually not cutting edge.
“Women are nags, and Jews run Hollywood! Thank you, Seth MacFarlane, for this cutting-edge humor.”
I could argue the same for this article-“Women are seen as sexual objects and dehumanized by the patriarchy, thanks for the cutting-edge writing.”
This was supposed to be comedy. A time to take ourselves a bit less seriously. Funny for some, not for everyone.
“We saw your boobs” was humorous. None of the films or actors mentioned were diminished because of it. I may, in fact watch some of these movies, not to see bare breasts, but acting performances.
Saying MacFarlane doesn’t care what Salma Hayek says because she is so pretty, but leaving out his inclusion of Javier Bardem in that statement seems disingenuous; deliberately misleading at worst. He also made fun of himself, his art and films, the losers, pretentious Hollywood, the list goes on.
Both articles have a Glenn Beck moment where they draw chalk lines from a joke about ‘the orgy’ being at Jack Nicholson’s house to Polanski and child rape. Sure, it’s true, but really a bit of a stretch.
The conversation on the exclusion of women is an important one and should be the focus of the debate, not the obvious and frivolous jokes of an Oscar host.
I still consider myself a feminist, but these articles are overreactions.